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    Response Processors: Request Captcha Processor: Incident - Captcha Request Size Limit Exceeded

    Complexity: Suspicious (1.0)

    Default Response: 10x = Multiple Captcha Request Overflow Incident.

    Cause: A captcha is a special technique used to differentiate between human users, and automated scripts. This is done through a Turing test, where the user is required to visually identify characters in a jumbled image and transcribe them into an input. If the user is unable to complete the challenge in a reasonable amount of time, they are not allowed to proceed with their original request. Because it is nearly impossible to script the deciphering of the image, automated scripts generally get stuck and cannot proceed. Additionally, an audio version is optionally available to allow users who have a visual handicap to complete the captcha successfully. Captchas are used in two different ways by the system. They can be explicitly added to any workflow within the protected web application (such as requiring a captcha to login, or checkout a shopping cart), and they can be used to test a suspicious user before allowing them to continue using the site (similar to blocking the user, but with a way for the user to unblock themselves if they can prove they are not an automated script). Captchas are generally used to resolve "Insufficient Anti-Automation" weaknesses in the protected web application. Regardless of which type of captcha is being used, this incident is generated when the user attempts to submit a captcha protected request that contains a request body larger then the configured maximum.

    Behavior: When a hacker is attempting to establish an automated script that is capable of defeating the captcha, they can use various different techniques. One of these techniques is to try changing various values used by the web application in the captcha mechanism in an effort to see if an error can be generated or if an unexpected outcome can be achieved. This type of probing and reverse engineering is generally performed by advanced hackers. In this specific case, the attacker submitted an extremely large request, probably in an effort to find a "Buffer Overflow" vulnerability, which would produce useful error data and potentially open the server up to further exploitation. This incident is not necessarily malicious on its own, as it is possible for a normal user to submit a value that is larger then the configured maximum, especially if the configured maximum is small, or if the form protected by the captcha allows file posts.

    Published: 2014-06-27